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7 Best Places to Go for Thanksgiving Weekend

SmarterTravel

Looking to get away during the long Thanksgiving weekend? Whether you’d like to skip cooking all together or just take the family somewhere new for the holiday, check out these exciting places where flights are trending on the cheaper end of the spectrum or where special activities are planned for the holiday weekend.

Editors’ Note: Fares are accurate as of time of publication.

Burlington, Vermont

Church Street in Burlington Vermont on a rainy night
Alex | Adobe Stock

If you dream of crisp leaves, chilly air, and a round of backyard football, Vermont is the destination for you. Toward the end of November, you can still catch a late season farmer’s market or check out the year-round trail hiking and biking at the Intervale Center. Get into the cozy spirit of the season by making your very own teddy bear (all ages welcome!) at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, just 20 minutes down the road. For Black Friday shopping enthusiasts, the downtown Church Street Marketplace is a great place to grab your gifts, accompanied by the annual tree lighting, scheduled to take place the Friday after Thanksgiving this year.

Skyscanner data for the week leading up to Thanksgiving shows you can fly nonstop to Burlington for as little as $96. Travelers booking late or flying from more remote destinations will find better deals booking a longer trip (a week vs. a weekend) and traveling on off-peak holiday travel days (i.e. Tuesday to Tuesday).

Where to Stay: The Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain is right around the corner from Waterfront Park, where you can bike along the Burlington Bike Path, stroll along the lake shore, or learn to sail at the sailing center. The hotel itself offers pet-friendly rooms and beautiful views of Lake Champlain.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Skyline of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
checubus | Adobe Stock

There’s plenty to do in Pittsburgh, and even more so over the holiday weekend. Root for your home-away-from-home team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Wander around shop-filled Market Square and, if traveling with kids for the holiday, make a stop at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh which offers dozens of interactive exhibits to keep the little ones entertained. On Thanksgiving Day, enjoy a holiday meal without the work at The Grand Concourse, which offers a take home meal kit (serving 10-12 people) as well as an in-house buffet. If you want to extend your long weekend to a week-long trip, arrive the weekend before Thanksgiving to attend Downtown Holiday Happenings, the city’s kick off to the holiday season. 

Nonstop roundtrip flights to Pittsburgh can be found from $213, according to Skyscanner data. Regional Amtrak service can be found for even lower, with some one-way fares starting at or below $100.  

Where to Stay: The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, built inside a historic building first constructed in 1903, is just a short drive from attractions like the National Aviary, Market Square, and the Andy Warhol Museum. The hotel offers public bikes for guests to ride around the city, yoga mats in every room, wellness programs, and spa services to help beat the usual holiday stress.

Toronto, Canada 

Lit up Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Canada at night
pabrady63 | Adobe Stock

Although Canada’s Thanksgiving falls over a month earlier, there’s still plenty to do around the city for the American long weekend. The Blake House in downtown Toronto serves up an American-style Thanksgiving meal each year. If you prefer to have your gravy over something other than turkey, Nomnomnom Poutine can satisfy your craving in true Canadian fashion. Enjoy the cooler weather while shopping at the Distillery Winter Village, previously the Toronto Christmas Market, or taking in some of the year-round sites like century-old Casa Loma or the Hockey Hall of Fame.

According to Skyscanner, you can find roundtrip nonstop flights to Toronto starting at just $161 for the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

Where to Stay: The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel is located right next to Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of Toronto. From there, you can easily access the city’s public transportation, as well as great dining options both in-house and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Nashville, Tennessee 

Skyline of Nashville, Tennessee at dusk
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Roundtrip fares to Nashville are in the $200-$300 range, with prices dropping drastically for travelers willing to fly on Thanksgiving day and schedule their return flight the following Monday, rather than Saturday or Sunday.

Where to Stay: The Union Station Nashville Yards is built inside a 20th century train station and is centrally located in the Business and Entertainment District of Nashville, less than a ten minute drive from Music Row. Swap out your traditional Thanksgiving dinner for one of the many well-known dining options just outside the hotel’s doors, which offer everything from southern comfort food to top-tier Indian cuisine.

Dublin, Ireland

O'Connell Street in Dublin, Ireland
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Although firmly in the city’s off-season for tourists, November in Dublin sees relatively little rainfall when compared to both October and the later winter months. The trade-off is a colder climate, hovering in the low to mid-50s (Fahrenheit). If you can handle the chill, you’ll be rewarded with shorter wait times and fewer crowds. Take advantage of the off-season to get a seat at the usually crowded Temple Bar or see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. Dublin Christmas Markets typically start toward the end of the month, with the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market anticipated to make its return the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

Roundtrip, nonstop flights to Dublin from New York area airports can be found for less than $600 and as little as $400-500 for travelers willing to depart on Thanksgiving day from eastern coastal airports like Boston Logan International (BOS) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

Where to Stay: Trinity City Hotel offers upscale accommodations in close proximity to many of the city’s most famous attractions. Travelers who want a more historical experience and don’t mind being farther from city center can book a stay at Clontarff Castle Hotel. This current iteration of the castle dates to 1837, but the grounds have housed versions of the castle for over 650 years.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

View of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim
Amineah | Adobe Stock

For those who wish to visit the west this Thanksgiving, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most eye-opening sites to see. The crowds of summer subside and the temperatures are perfect for hiking. Facilities on the North Rim close after October 15th, but Highway 67 remains open as long as there isn’t a big snowstorm before November 30th, so you may be able to enjoy this part of the park in complete solitude. Otherwise, the South Rim is open year-round.

If you’re flying into the area, you’ll likely find the cheapest flights into Las Vegas (LAS), which is a 4-hour drive from the visitor’s center. The closest commercial airport is Flagstaff (FLG) but there are limited flight options available. Flying into Phoenix (PHX) is another option for cheaper flights, which is about a 3.5-hour drive.

Where to Stay: If you don’t feel like camping, the Yavapai Lodge is one of the closest places to stay to the Grand Canyon. Rooms are basic, but clean, comfortable, and come with a mini fridge. And the property has both universal and Tesla electric car chargers in the parking lot.

Milan, Italy

Naviglio Grande canal in Milan, Italy at night
faber121 | Adobe Stock

November is also the beginning of off-season in Milan, with the buzz of September’s fashion week long gone and the chillier winter weather settling in. Throw on your favorite fall blazer and wander the drizzly, foggy streets of Centro Storico or take in famous sites like The Last Supper or the grounds of Sforzesco Castle with a fraction of the usual wait times. If you linger after Thanksgiving, you can catch the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato del Naviglio Grande, a nearly 1.5 mile long antiques market hosted on the last Sunday of every month. If you start to miss the taste of being home for the holidays, swing by Erba Brusca, which is known for serving up classic Thanksgiving dishes with an Italian twist. 

Flights to Milan start at below $500 for the week prior to Thanksgiving, according to Skyscanner. Flights departing from the west coast are a little pricier, though still affordable compared to high season, with many fares in the mid-$700 range. For those with a little wiggle room in their travel dates and a willingness to spend a hefty layover in Dublin, Aer Lingus is offering an itinerary from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Milan Linate Airport (LIN) for just $688.

Where to Stay: Built inside a historical 1940s building and renovated in 2015, The Square Milano Duomo is just a 6-minute walk from the Duomo di Milano, a grand cathedral that took nearly six hundred years to complete. The property features vintage architecture and a clean, modern interior, with in-house dining and a rooftop bar.

Peter Thornton contributed to this story.

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